Screening of Multiple Biomarkers Associated With Ischemic Stroke in Atrial Fibrillation.


Background To explore the pathophysiological features of ischemic stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), we evaluated the association between 268 plasma proteins and subsequent ischemic stroke in 2 large AF cohorts receiving oral anticoagulation. Methods and Results A case-cohort sample of patients with AF from the ARISTOTLE (Apixaban for Reduction in Stroke and Other Thromboembolic Events in Atrial Fibrillation) trial, including 282 cases with ischemic stroke or systemic embolism and a random sample of 4124 without these events, during 1.9 years of follow-up was used for identification. Validation was provided by a similar case-cohort sample of patients with AF from the RE-LY (Randomized Evaluation of Long-Term Anticoagulation Therapy) trial, including 149 cases with ischemic stroke/systemic embolism and a random sample of 1062 without these events. In plasma obtained before randomization, 268 unique biomarkers were measured with OLINK proximity extension assay panels (CVD II, CVD III, and Inflammation) and conventional immunoassays. The association between biomarkers and outcomes was evaluated by random survival forest and adjusted Cox regression. According to random survival forest or Cox regression analyses, the biomarkers most strongly and consistently associated with ischemic stroke/systemic embolism were matrix metalloproteinase-9, NT-proBNP (N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide), osteopontin, sortilin, soluble suppression of tumorigenesis 2, and trefoil factor-3. The corresponding hazard ratios (95% CIs) for an interquartile difference were as follows: 1.18 (1.00-1.38), 1.55 (1.28-1.88), 1.28 (1.07-1.53), 1.19 (1.02-1.39), 1.23 (1.05-1.45), and 1.19 (0.97-1.45), respectively. Conclusions In patients with AF, of 268 unique biomarkers, the 6 biomarkers most strongly associated with subsequent ischemic stroke/systemic embolism represent fibrosis/remodeling (matrix metalloproteinase-9 and soluble suppression of tumorigenesis 2), cardiac dysfunction (NT-proBNP), vascular calcification (osteopontin), metabolism (sortilin), and mucosal integrity/ischemia (trefoil factor-3). Registration URL: Unique Identifiers: NCT00412984 and NCT00262600.





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Publication Info

Hijazi, Ziad, Lars Wallentin, Johan Lindbäck, John H Alexander, Stuart J Connolly, John W Eikelboom, Michael D Ezekowitz, Christopher B Granger, et al. (2020). Screening of Multiple Biomarkers Associated With Ischemic Stroke in Atrial Fibrillation. Journal of the American Heart Association, 9(24). p. e018984. 10.1161/jaha.120.018984 Retrieved from

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John Hunter Peel Alexander

Professor of Medicine

John H. Alexander, MD, MHS is a cardiologist and Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology at Duke University School of Medicine, as well as the Vice Chief, Clinical Research in the Division of Cardiology. He is the Director of Cardiovascular Research at the Duke Clinical Research Institute where he oversees a large group of clinical research faculty and a broad portfolio of cardiovascular clinical trials and observational clinical research programs. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation.

Dr. Alexander’s clinical interests are in acute and general cardiovascular disease, valvular heart disease, and echocardiology. His research is focused on the translation of novel therapeutic concepts into clinical data through clinical trials, specifically on the therapeutics of acute coronary syndromes, chronic coronary artery disease, and cardiac surgery and on novel methodological approaches to clinical trials. He was on the Executive Committee of the ARISTOTLE trial of apixaban in patients with atrial fibrillation and was the Principal Investigator of the APPRAISE-2 trial of apixaban in patients with acute coronary syndromes.

Dr. Alexander has published extensively and has served as the principal investigator of numerous multicenter clinical trials. He currently serves as the co-chair of the Clinical Trial Transformation Initiative (CTTI).


Christopher Bull Granger

Donald F. Fortin, M.D. Distinguished Professor of Medicine

My primary research interest is in conduct and methodology of large randomized clinical trials in heart disease. I have led a number of large international clinical studies in heart attacks, unstable angina, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation. I have lead clinical studies of blood thinners and coronary intervention for heart attacks, stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation, and prevention of heart attack for patients with coronary artery disease. I have been co-director of the Reperfusion of Acute MI in Carolina Emergency Departments (RACE) project that is a North Carolina state-wide program to improve reperfusion care for acute myocardial infarction. I serve as the Chairman of the American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline program to improve heart attack care nationally as well as the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guideline committee for heart attack care. I have also studied the effects of genetic variation on heart disease. I work with the National Institute of Health and the Federal Drug Administration on evaluation of heart disease and of new drugs. I have developed tools to predict which patients are at risk for death, heart attack, and need for hospitalization.

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